The intelligence update by the British Defense Ministry suggests that Russia’s Wagner group uses its convict-recruits as cannon fodder ordering them to proceed on pre-planned assault routes while their platoon-level commanders and above “likely remain in cover and give orders over radios.” The Russian ground attacks on the area of the city of Bakhmut continue for many weeks with the Russian tactics of the described kind unchanged since the outset of the offensives in Donetsk Oblast.
- “Russian military proxy group Wagner continues to take a major role in attritional combat around the Donetsk Oblast town of Bakhmut. In recent months, it has developed offensive tactics to make use of the large number of poorly trained convicts it has recruited.”
- “Individual fighters are likely issued a smart phone or tablet which shows the individual’s designated axis of advance and assault objective superimposed on commercial satellite imagery. At platoon level and above, commanders likely remain in cover and give orders over radios, informed by video feeds from small uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs).”
- “Individuals and sections are ordered to proceed on the preplanned route, often with fire-support, but less often alongside armoured vehicles. Wagner operatives who deviate from their assault routes without authorisation are likely being threatened with summary execution.”
- “These brutal tactics aim to conserve Wagner’s rare assets of experienced commanders and armoured vehicles, at the expense of the more readily available convict-recruits, which the organisation assesses as expendable.”